LiveJournal on Life Support?

LiveJournal has just shed a substantial proportion of its 28 employees. Reports differ as to how many have been let go. As usual, ValleyWag tends toward the negative.

The bubble in social networking has burst, decisively. LiveJournal, the San Francisco-based arm of Sup, a Russian Internet startup, has cut about 20 of 28 employees… product managers and engineers were laid off, leaving only a handful of finance and operations workers — which speaks to a website to be left on life support.

Executives at Six Apart, the blog-software company which sold LiveJournal to Sup, are happily counting the money… they should consider themselves lucky that Vox, the LiveJournal knockoff it started, hasn’t been more popular…

LiveJournal, founded by engineer Brad Fitzpatrick in 1999, predated most blogging services and social networks, and anticipated many of their features… But Fitzpatrick never figured out how to turn it into a business. Instead, he sold it to Six Apart, which didn’t have much more luck.

On the basis of history, I tend to believe the negative. I certainly echo Nicholas’ advice to back up your LJ, if you have one.

This is sad. LJ has for years integrated blogging and social networking. But somehow that integration remains one of the big issues in social media.

So, it looks as though there will be an exodus from LJ soon. Where will the people end up? If I were running WordPress.com, I’d buy more servers, and make social networking an even higher priority than it already is…

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